Coronavirus Covid-19 symptoms
Eyes are affected by many conditions, but they may also be an indication of other things. Specifically the pandemic sweeping the world right now may show symptoms through your eyes.
A study recently published in JAMA Ophthalmology found that 31.6% of 38 consecutive patients with COVID-19 seen at the Yichang Central People’s Hospital in Hubei Province, China, had eye-related symptoms.
A team from China Three Gorges University (Ping Wu, MD, Chunhua Luo, MD, Qiang Liu, MD, Xingguang Qu, MD, and Liang Liang, MD) and Sun Yat-Sen University (Fang Duan, MD, and Kaili Wu, MD) conducted the study. The study was based on patients who were treated from February 9 to 15, 2020. Keeping in mind that this was not a random study and lacked the necessary controls that would be indicative of a more scientifically conducted study, but nonetheless it’s worth noting.
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) causes multiple issues within us and these may include the eyes. Of the 12 patients in the study with eye issues, seven had epiphora. Epiphora is excessive tear production due to either lacrimal glands producing an unusually large amount of tears or tear ducts that are blocked by inflammation, preventing proper drainage. one of the patients in the study, was actually the first symptom of COVID-19 that the patient had noticed.
Eight of the patients had inflammation and swelling of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the transparent lining that covers the front of your eyeball and the inside of your eyelids. This is not something that would be visible without your optometrists equipment.
Of the 12 patients with ocular findings, four were moderately ill, two were severely ill, and six were in critical condition.
This wasn’t the first study to document eye-related symptoms for those with COVID-19. A study published late February in the New England Journal of Medicine reviewed data on 1,099 patients who had laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 from 552 hospitals in China. Nine of these patients did have congestion, which is a combination of the earlier-mentioned eye symptoms. Five of the cases were among the 926 COVID-19 cases in the study that were deemed “non-severe” and four were among the 123 cases that were deemed “severe.”
There was also a study published in the Journal of Medical Virology of 30 patients who were hospitalized at the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang University from January 26, 2020 to February 9, 2020 for SARS-CoV2 pneumonia. The research team tested the tears and conjunctival secretions of all 30 patients for SARS-CoV2 RNA and found such RNA in only one patient. Nonetheless, this same patient also was the only one of 30 determined to have COVID-19 conjunctivitis.
This may not be the best way to identify Coronavirus cases, however it is one more symptom to be aware of as all the details of this virus have not yet emerged.